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OK, Houseaholics. I’m going to be up front with y’all. February is National Stomach Bug Month, and I’m celebrating with a tall glass of Pepto, trying to take notes while lying very very still on the couch under a heat pad. So I can kinda sympathize with this week’s POW. Is that anything like method acting? I just hope there’s no really disgusting symptoms in tonight’s episode, like blood or excrement or puke or… uh oh hang on a second… ok I’m back. Did I mention this is episode number 100? Hopefully something special and non-nauseating is in store. On to the cold open!
It’s a cooking class. Like I can think about food right now. The chef has been watching a little too much Gordon Ramsay, because he’s laying into his assistant. It’s not long before she starts looking woozy, and I’m really afraid she’s going to barf. Her lips turn blue and she starts muttering medical terms at random. She passes out instead of tossing her cookies. Whew.
After the credits, we see Foreteen waking up in bed. “You drool.” “Shut up.” Remember that, kids. Ten years from now you’ll be screaming it at each other. Assuming 13 lives that long. I’m kinda hoping they kill her off this year, but anyway. Next we see Wilson washing dishes. He takes a long meaningful look at a coffee cup that’s sitting on the counter (much the same way I look at my coffee cup at 6 am) but leaves it. Next, House walks in to work and limps up the stairs because the elevators all have “Out of Order” signs on them. How much you want to bet someone’s um, pulling his leg? Sure enough, all the Houseguests say the elevators were working fine for them. Anyway, let’s talk about the POW. She has a pneumothorax, which my personal medical consultant says is a fancy name for a collapsed lung. House doesn’t find this interesting, but 13 says they really REALLY want to take this case. She’s a brilliant research doctor who is about to cure cancer, therefore They Must Save Her. I smell yet another moral or ethical ambiguity coming. The smell makes me want to puke. But pretty much everything does right now.
13 and Louie go check the POW for asthma. She’s getting the fast track treatment because “Dr. House gets a few perks.” Louie adds that curing her fast will be “our gift to society.” Barf. The POW says sorry to break their little hearts, but she quit her research job months ago. She had an operation for like a tumor on her uterus or something, and she realized on the operating table that she wasn’t happy with her life. “Couldn’t you just buy an expensive German sports car and have an affair?” snaps 13. Hey, Louie’s wife bought him that car, remember? Just sayin. Regardless, that sounds like something Old Cranky 13 would say, not New Perky 13. Hrmmmz. The POW says she’s much happier being chewed out as an assistant chef than she was curing cancer.
House goes to tell Cuddy he’s on to her little game of putting fake signs on the elevators. Cuddy is busy watching her nanny cam. Most people would be satisfied spamming their Facebook friends with flair, but I guess the boss gets to hog all the bandwidth. (Somewhat-related true story: I showed up at work early once and one of the bosses asked me to figure out why the printer wasn’t working. He’d jammed the print queue full of Naughty Asian Barely Legal Sluts. Ah, the good old dot-com days.) Anyway, Cuddy admits to the not-very-funny practical joke. She’s taking revenge on House for making her come back to work. “Congratulations, you’ve dragged me down to your level.” House pulls the sign off the elevator, nods to the janitor in a sneaky Scrubs reference, and gets in with about 10 other people who are already on. Did Cuddy send a memo to everyone else in the hospital except House, or does she run out and only put the signs on when she knows House is coming? She must not be doing a lot of actual work.
Back upstairs, I am shocked to learn that the POW does not have asthma. The Houseguests are starting the weekly moral debate: did the POW do the right thing by quitting to be happy, or does she have an obligation to humanity? Old Cranky 13 doesn’t care if Jonas Salk’s life is miserable as long as he’s saving the human race. Foreman sticks up for the POW. They wonder if any of them is really happy getting beat up on by House. House sends them to go do a lung biopsy. As the kids scoot, he calls Foreman back in. He’s figured out that Foreman switched 13′s meds, because you know, he told him to and all. Hey, you know what would be great? What if the miracle drug he just put her on has some kind of terrible side effect? Hey, how is 13 feeling, anyway? Well, she seems to have a headache. Who knew?
Anyway, the POW does not want to have a lung biopsy. She has book club to get to, and knitting, and polo lessons, and all those things that people do with too much money and time on their hands. Moral Officer Louie says sure, those things make her happy, but isn’t it better to be saving the world? He made tons of money as a plastic surgeon, but being House’s gofer is much more fulfilling. Meanwhile, the POW’s tummy hurts. It’s bloated and full of blood. Wouldn’t you kind of, I dunno, pass out if you bled that much? What do I know?
House walks into his office, trips over something and crashes to the floor. Someone rigged a wire across his doorway. Wow, Cuddy needs to learn the difference between funny and mean. But maybe they do funny differently in Jersey. He brushes it off and remains calm, which makes the Houseguests wonder if he has something up his sleeve. 13 looks like death on a cracker. House sends the chilluns away and keeps Foreman back, again, to tell him he noticed 13 is losing her peripheral vision. Did someone say side effects?
House goes down to the clinic to patch up his skinned knee. Pretty sure he could have found a Band-Aid in any old corner of the hospital, but whatever. Wilson finds him in there and asks what dastardly brand of vengeance he’s plotting for Cuddy. House is going to play the game by refusing to play the game, because revenge is best served cold and all that. Either that or you just feel guilty, says Wilson. As House gets up to leave, Wilson sees the POW’s file in House’s hand and has a Wilsongasm. The POW is one of his personal heroes. He goes to fawn over her and lay the guilt on a little thicker.
The POW says she was stuck in a rut in her old job, but she’s moved on and now she’s free to live her life. “What’s your rut?” she asks Wilson. I swear, people in this show have an uncanny ability to wear their personal issues on their sleeve. This woman has known Wilson for five minutes and she’s got him pegged already. She says she’s having liver failure and it makes her itchy and she scratches her head.
Speaking of issues, and getting pegged, let’s cut to Louie and his wife in bed. He says he wants to have kids. Jeez, first 13 and now Louie? It’s contagious, it really is. She says she doesn’t, and he knew it when they got married, so why is he resenting? He says he’s not resenting, just revisiting. Sounds more like rationalizing to me. He begs, but she still says no. Don’t worry about it too much, bro, you’re better off with the Mercedes.
Foreman spills his guts to 13. Wait, still too sick for that metaphor. He spills the BEANS to 13. Still not great. Anyway. She closes off and would rather talk about the POW’s case, and when he presses her she says she’s a little bit spooked by his devotion. They’ve only been going out for 2 weeks and he’s already risking his medical career for her. When you put it that way, it does make Foreman sound a bit psycho. But not boring, so there’s that.
Psycho Foreman goes to check on the itchy POW, who’s just waking up, and bleeding from her temple. If you thought last week’s shouting-match-over-cell-phone-and-intercom-while-patients-head-is-peeled-open-like-a-boiled-egg was silly, hang on to your disbelief, because it’s about to get nuts in here. The POW has scratched all the way through her skull in her sleep, and her brains are leaking out. I repeat: she SCRATCHED through her SKULL. Her SKULL! In her SLEEP! Does she have Wolverine nails? Does she sleep the sleep of the dead? Did the writers have a contest to see who could work in the dumbest urban legend? Next week, are we going to treat someone who made a face and it froze that way? The possibilities are endless.
The Houseguests discuss this shocking turn of events. Good thing they have a plastic surgeon on the team who can just cover up the giant hole in
the plot her head like it never happened, because they really don’t want word of this getting out. More importantly, why was she still itching afterwards? That must mean the itch is in her mind, so time to do an MRI and check it out. 13 snaps at Louie, then apologizes for her headachy bad mood. The Houseguests leave to do the test. House looks around, I think for his cane, and doesn’t find it. He settles for the janitor’s bucket instead. He takes it down to Cuddy’s office, where he makes up a fake magazine article about working moms being happier than single moms. Cuddy sees through the ruse (it’s lamer than Wilson’s “age-enhanced photo” from last week), and tells him to just go ahead and dump the bucket of water on her floor if he wants to. House, fun spoiled, leaves.
Foreman does an MRI on 13 and finds something really scary. He runs to House HQ, where House gives him grief for being late. He leaves again. You know, there’s a lot of walking in and out of offices on this show. They need to get out more. House follows Foreman out. “How bad?” Well… umm… 13 has a brain tumor. Those experimental drugs don’t play around, huh? She was on it for what, a week? Fastest growing tumor EVAR. Foreman is going to the drug company to Demand The Truth. I knew this was coming back around to Big Evil Drugs. (Wonder if anyone’s going to catch the irony: who do they think pays for the POW to research curing cancer?) On his way to storm the castle, he stops to check on 13, who has just gone blind. At this rate, by tomorrow she’ll be shriveled up and dropping parts like Geena Davis in Beetlejuice.
Wilson finds House sleeping on the couch in his office because Cuddy had his apartment power cut off. She called the power company pretending to be his wife and told them he moved. Well, if someone can scratch through their skull in their sleep, I guess we can just skip over the part where utilities only take orders to the person listed on the account. Anyway, the POW is now having something called spinal shocks, which sounds pretty awful and makes them think she has a tumor too. Foreman is still out preparing to commit professional suicide, so it’s up to Loumar to find it. Meanwhile, House finds 13 in the lounge doing a passable blind impression. It takes him a couple of seconds to figure out this dramatic new turn of events–he’s getting slow. He tells her Foreman was acting on his advice when he switched her meds, and then he gives her the same advice: if you love him, don’t let him screw up his career by admitting he messed with the trial.
Since we’re doing advice right now, let’s follow Wilson to Cuddy’s office, where he’s telling Cuddy to lay off House because her antics are 1) not funny and 2) physically harmful. He should pay for making me miserable, says Cuddy. Wilson points out that she isn’t miserable, because she likes working and she likes House. Which doesn’t answer the question of why she’s hurting him… or does it? Cuddy’s S & M boots notwithstanding, Wilson says she could always just fire him if she wants revenge.
Foreman has come back to the hospital, and he and House are zapping 13′s tumor with radiation. What, no skull-sawing allowed on principal cast members? What, no conflict of interest rules preventing people from operating on significant others? I give. Sure, you did it because you loved her, but you forgot to ask her permission first, is House’s observation. Over in the land of Loumar and the Increasingly Irrelevant Patient of the Week, the MRI is showing tumors, tumors everywhere. So it appears the cancer researcher has got a bad case of irony. I mean cancer. Mesothelioma, to be precise. Kumar finds Foreteen’s absence fishy, and he goes to track them down while Louie gets a consult from Wilson. Wilson apologizes, less than sincerely, to the POW and then admits that he does have a rut and its name is Amber. He asks for advice on escaping the rut and she tells him “the only wrong thing is to do nothing.” If there’s one thing the writers are good at, it’s dialogue that sounds deep but doesn’t actually say anything.
Kumar finds House and Foreteen in a hospital room, where the moral debate continues. Is Foreman a big fat hypocrite for not going to the drug company? Kumar says if HE loved HER, he’d do it. And round and round we go, while the POW’s heart stops and she bleeds out of her face. Again? That was just last week! Because facial bleeding means certain death in TV Land, they now have to cure her before the sun goes down or she’s toast. House’s drastic idea is to cut off the blood flow to the tumors that are threatening her life, and he goes to Cuddy for a permission slip. She calls a truce and gives him his cane back.
Now that Cuddy is making nice again, House reverts to his usual snappish self. Cuddy is briefly confused, but realizes this IS House’s way of calling a truce and refuses to take the bait. She does his block-the-elevator-door trick and flashes him a big smile. House notices none of this, because his jab about Aunt Flo set off his lightbulb. He limps back to the POW’s room, pulls an empty box of maxis from her trash can and waves it aloft in triumph. She has ectopic endometriosis, which means a bunch of uterus cells escaped when she had her previous operation, and spread throughout her body. At that time of the month, they did what uterus cells do, which is swell up and bleed. In other words, says House, “I am blaming it on her period.” He says to cut out the masses and she’ll be fine. Wait, I thought the masses were all over her body? How many places are they going to have to cut? Anyway, next time we see her, she’s fine as paint and Louie asks her if she still feels good about her life choices. “You’re gonna spend one day on your deathbed. The other 25,000 are the ones you should be worrying about,” she says. She then admits spent the previous week on her deathbed making up impressive-sounding platitudes.
Now that that’s resolved, what about our other POW? Foreman is apologizing to 13 for the whole messy sitch, when she suddenly realizes she can SEE! Is she healed already? Rats, I was really hoping to stretch this whole dying-of-side-effects thing out for several more episodes at least. How else are we going to kill her off? Anyway, while 13 gets better even faster than she got sick, Foreman turns himself in to Big Drugs, who quite naturally (and conveniently) sweep the whole thing under the rug. House listens to the story while looting someone else’s locker for cash. I knew petty crime was up because of the economy and all, but klepto doctors? It must be bad. What say we listen to some epilogue music to cheer us up?
Louie sits in his bedroom chair pondering. He tells his wife he doesn’t know about kids, but he can’t be happy without her. She comes over for a victory snug. Foreman and the good-as-new 13 lie in bed together and have a “you snore! Shut up!” snug. Wilson, in the kitchen again, has one last snug with dead Amber’s unwashed coffee cup and washes it.
So was anyone else hoping to see the beginning of the end of 13? Anyone else wonder how far they’re going to stretch the bounds of believability next week? Anyone got a bottle of Imodium for me? Anyone?